Music and Ecology  Homework

Read chapters 2-3 in R. Murray Schafer’s Tuning of the World

1) A sound walk is not dissimilar from a regular walk, but the participant(s) is more mindful of the sounds around them. For Tuesday, take a couple of short sound walks, taking note of the sounds you hear around you, paying attention to distance, direction, loudness, variety, etc. Be ready to report on what you heard in detail (it’s advisable to jot down some notes afterward).

2) We all create soundscapes all the time. A soundscape is different from a soundwalk in that, rather than walking through an environment and observing the sounds that are made, we are creating a sonic ambience to our taste. Try a soundscape at home. It could be while you are doing a mundane task, such as cooking or cleaning, or during some other activity (reading, eating, etc.). What sounds do you insert into your environment. Why do you like having them accompany you? Are any of them used to mask other sounds? If so, why? If you could have an environment in which only sounds you “liked” were in operation, what would they be?

3) What’s a spectrograph? What’s noise abatement?

4) What are the principal difference Schafer draws between manmade sounds and sounds from the natural world.

5) What do you think Schafer means when he says that a musician is “an orchestrator of sound?” Notice he doesn’t use the word composer. This has to do with soundscaping and soundwalking.